Five Boats Carrying Mussels Intercepted at Ruedi Reservoir
Watercraft inspection staff at Ruedi Reservoir have intercepted five boats carrying invasive Quagga mussels in the five days that the boat ramp and inspection station has been open. Four of the five boats were from Lake Powell, which has been infested with mussels for years. Watercraft inspection program staff at the Reservoir recognized the highly destructive animals before the boats were launched. Two of the boats were decontaminated and allowed to enter the reservoir. The three other boats are currently detained for decontamination. Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel have been alerted and are supervising the decontamination.
The aquatic nuisance species (ANS) inspection program began at Ruedi in 2008, but was not fully implemented until 2018, the first year that enough funding was secured to staff the ramp for all operative hours. No “mussel-boats” were intercepted at Ruedi until 2018 when two boats were identified and decontaminated early in the season. Six mussel-boats were identified and decontaminated in the entire 2019 season. The interception of this many mussel-boats early in the season indicates a severely increasing threat to Colorado water bodies.
The watercraft inspection and decontamination program at Ruedi is sponsored by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority (RWAPA) in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the United States Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. The inspection and decontamination station at Ruedi is operated by Rocky Mountain Recreation Co. under contract to RWAPA. The Program requires that all boats entering and leaving the Reservoir be inspected prior to launch and prior to departure in compliance with state regulations. The main boat ramp at Ruedi is currently open for inspection between 6:00 AM and 8:00 PM. Open hours will be extended to 10:00 PM during the months of July and August. The ramp is closed to all boat traffic when inspectors are not on site. The Authority reminds all boaters – “Don’t move a mussel!” – Clean, drain and dry boats in between uses and be prepared for boat inspections prior to entering or leaving the Ruedi boat ramp. Inspectors request patience from the public as protocols and other covid-19 related issues may cause slight increases in inspection and decontamination times.
Quagga Mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are highly invasive small shellfish. They are native to Eurasia and were inadvertently imported to North America on cargo vessels in the late 1980’s. Their ability to reproduce prolifically and attach themselves to any solid surface has made them a significant nuisance in infested areas, damaging and degrading infrastructure, habitat, and recreational facilities and opportunities. Colorado is one of only a few states free of mussels, although mussel larvae were found in Green Mountain Reservoir in 2017 (an adult population has not been confirmed).